Consumers' Checkbook says compare prices, not discounts.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Retailers large and small are advertising holiday sales. They sure look like a good deal, but will you save money?
You've seen the offers; 20% off here and 65% there. This time of year retail sales and markdowns are as much a holiday tradition as ice skating and logo shopping bags. Sales are seemingly everywhere you look.
We believe sales will offer us a better price, but do they?
Bay Area Consumers' Checkbook has done a deep dive investigating retail sales and reports some retailers offer real savings with their sale prices.
Checkbook's Kevin Brasler says, "One example was Apple. Apple rarely, if ever, discounts its products."
So, when Apple sales are announced, Brasler says they are legit.
Other stores? He says a Consumers' Checkbook survey found that is not usually the case.
"We tracked prices for 33 weeks at 25 different major retailers and found that overwhelmingly at 21 out of the 25 retailers they often conducted illegitimate sales," says Brasler.
What does he mean by illegitimate sales? Well, that means prices may be marked down, but not down from where the prices are usually set or where consumers usually buy. He says you have to comparison shop to know for sure you are getting a good deal.
"Do not pay attention to these offers," says Brasler, "No matter what the savings. Even if it says it's 80% off and it's clearance or something like that. Assume they're lying to you, because what we found is they probably are."
Brasler says the way to protect yourself is by comparing prices not discounts.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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